Drought in Indian states

Kashmir Times. Dated: 6/10/2019 7:57:29 AM

Policy makers and planners have to make alternate arrangements for making water available to rain-fed areas during drought

The NDA-government appears to have woken up from its deep slumber on the serious issue of acute drought in several states of the country that has resulted in large scale death of cattle due to shortage of water. The worst hit are the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, which have been facing acute water shortage as water sources have dried up before the onset of monsoons, that have been delayed by over a week. The first monsoons have hit the Kerala coastal areas almost after a week’s delay sending cheers among the people, who are living rain fed areas of the country. All eyes are on the monsoons and their prediction as most of the country and its agriculture areas are dependent on rains. The rain fed areas have been looking forward to the forecast about the rainy season spread over a period of around three months and most of the water sources including the water bodies are replenished during the rainy season. In the worst affected areas of the country during this season have been facing acute shortage of drinking water. The populations living in these dry areas have to travel five to seven kilometers for getting drinking water. The cases of cattle deaths due to shortage of water have been reported from almost all the rain-fed areas falling in different states of the country. The loss of cattle is itself a big loss to the agriculture families, who are dependent on the income from their fields after the rains and well-being of the cattle. The losses are directly linked to their livelihood and the economy of the families. The hue and cry raised by the state governments across the country have fallen on deaf ears as some of them are ruled by the opposition parties and the NDA-government at the centre is least interested in helping them out in the hour of crisis. This has further led to agrarian crisis in some of these states, which have been crying for water availability from the alternate ways and means for their survival. But nothing appears to have been done for mitigating the sufferings of the worst hit families.
Apart from this, the impact of climate change on the weather pattern in India has been widely ignored by the NDA-government during its first tenure despite the fact that India is a signatory to the ‘Climate Change Agreement’ that spells initiatives for preventing the ‘Green House’ impact on the climate. As late as last week, United States of America has blamed both China and India as the culprits for not reducing the emission of pollutant emission into the atmosphere from their industrial units and manufacturing activities, which have been identified as major contributors to climate change. As such India has not reacted to the accusations of the US on this issue, but China has reacted sharply and described it as an alibi to divert attention from the current trade war between the two major economic powers. As such the trade war is attracting and involving other economic powers of the world into the dispute. The dispute between China and US has the potential of escalating into a full scale war hurting the economies and climate change agreements around the planet. Anyhow, the current issue of climate change is being ignored not only by the US but also other developed countries that can have disastrous impact on the developing and under-developed world. India is no exception from the impact of El Nino impact and shortage of water in various parts is being considered as a part of the climate change impact. But the policy planners in India have to give a serious thought to the alternate ways and means for preventing the damage to its economic resources. Recharging of ground water, maintenance of water sources, storage of water in the reservoirs and preventing damage to glacier deposits are the major milestones that need to be covered by the planners in India. Unless serious attention is paid to this sector, shortage of water in most parts of India cannot be prevented forcing the people to migrate to resource rich areas for survival.

 

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